Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thinking outside the voiceover box

Opportunity from new sources
I have to admit that the economy and changes that have taken place in the advertising world have made me think more than once about the state of the voiceover business. The industry has changed significantly since I started freelancing as a voiceover artist after leaving broadcasting in the 1980s. I have seen old sources of business dry up. Yes, I have even considered the competition from new talent entering the field with younger voices that seem to be hot right now. Finding opportunity often requires creative thinking/marketing. Many of my associates in the world of voiceover have been very successful creating new niches for themselves is such areas as: animation, e-Learning, audio-books, explainer videos, telephone messaging and more. Some are very successful in the area of radio and TV promo work. Others continue to enjoy their bounty by voicing radio and TV commercials. I never considered doing long form voice work such as audio-books, until the opportunity recently knocked at my door.
A LinkedIn connection, someone I have known for many years and have worked with in the past, contacted me recently and offered an opportunity. I can't share much about the opportunity due to a non disclosure agreement. But, I can share the overview. The voice message on my answering machine went something like this: “Hey Jerry. This is Paul (not his real name). I think I have a voiceover opportunity for you. As you know, I am working with Melody Productions (not the company's real name). My boss has a screenplay that he'd like someone to read it, much like is done in a pre-production meeting. It's about 150 pages and we want you to read everything: directions, screen descriptions and of course the dialog with some character. If you think you're up to it, give me a call?”
I returned the call and told Paul that I have not done anything like this before but would be willing to give it a try. He sent me some sample pages and asked me to read them as an audition. I did and his boss liked what he heard. Paul: “That is just what we are looking for Jerry. We have a screenplay that's 127 pages. How soon can you turn it around?”
This was on a Tuesday and I had no pressing business that week. So, not having done a long-form project like this in the past, I told him that I would try to get it done by the end of the week. I had the project done by Friday and the complete project was about 3 hours in length after editing. Whew. I got an email over the weekend that they loved it and wondered if I could do another the following week. The second was a bit shorter, only 120 pages, and I completed that in two days. Keep in mind the edits are clean but the projects are considered “scratch tracks.” I would need to spend much more time if these were to be finished audio-book projects. The client is happy and they got exactly what they wanted.
I do believe I have carved out a whole new genre of voiceover. So, there really is opportunity when you “think outside the box.”


  1. Hi Jerry,
    I had the unexpected pleasure of also "carving out a whole new genre of voiceover" recently as I was cast as Santa Claus at a large shopping center here in Kelowna, BC between November 22nd and December 23rd. It was a great fit for my "acting bug" and with a bit of behind-the-scenes help I looked the part:)
    Ralph Hass Has The VOice...On and Off the Ice: Santa for the W!

    I had worked with one of the founders of Kelowna Actors Studio (my new employer) in the education field between 2000 - 2002 and he put in a good word for me as I landed the Santa role. The interaction with kids was awesome as was working outside my home studio for a change with photographers, elves and Mrs. Claus:)
    It is great when our old relationships result in new opportunities.
    Hopefully more of these nice surprises await us both in 2014!

    Happy New Year!
    ~Ralph Hass

  2. Glad your post finally made it. I haven't a clue what caused your previous comment to disappear.


Comments are welcome but will be moderated due to spammers leaving promotional messages. Sorry that I've had to do this.